Prague Museums – National Museum
If a website starts with “this neo-renaissance building built in 1895…..” then you’ll be reading the same old dross that’s on at least 20 other sites.
The National Museum in Prague stands at the top of Wenceslas Square and contains extensive collections of prehistoric artifacts, mineralogy and petrology, paleontology, zoology and anthropology.
In English that means pots and rocks plus loads of stuffed animals and birds. You need permission to take photos or film in the museum and you cannot take flash photography in the minerals section. My personal favourite is the huge whale skeleton but, there was a special exhibition about water (the year after the flood) which we enjoyed. No special exhibition in 2006 as it was closed for renovation for a while. It’s still a good trip for and one of the friendliest Prague museums for kids. Oh! and it’s a neo-renaissance building built in 1895….
- Opening Hours:
- Open May to September – 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Open October to April – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Closed first Tuesday of the month.
- Free entry first Monday of the month.
- Adult 110kc, child/student 60kc.
- 130kc Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children).
- Camera/Camcorder charge 50kc (you get a special sticker).
- Free cloakroom (discretionary tip).
- The National Museum website is http://www.nm.cz
Museum Bertramka (Mozart and Dusek’s Museum)
Just behind the NH Hotel (formerly the Moevenpick), the Dusek’s villa is where Mozart completed Don Giovanni, the night before its premier in 1787. Badly damaged by fire in the 1870s, the villa and gardens have been carefully restored to their original eighteenth-century splendour and feature outdoor recitals throughout the Summer months. The museum collection of Mozart memorabilia is quite small (five rooms), but the Rococo architecture and tranquil gardens more than compensate, offering visitors an opportunity to experience the beauty that inspired the maestro’s work. One of the Prague museums where many of the posters are Czech/German but, much of the exhibit is described in English. There’s also an audio tour option. Adult entry is around 110kc and a 2+2 family ticket is 230kc
- Opening Daily hours:
- April to October 9am to 6pm (also indoor and outdoor concerts)
- November to March 9-30am to 4pm
- The Museum Bertramka webpage is www.bertramka.cz
Antonin Dvorak Museum
Hidden away behind wrought-iron gates, the Dvorak Museum is housed in an elegant early eighteenth-century baroque summer palace. The exquisite villa was designed by Kilian Ignaz Dientzenhofer, the architect responsible for some of Prague’s most beautiful churches including St John Nepomuk on the Rock and the stunning St Nicholas in Mala Strana.
The building has had a varied existence (having served as a cattle market and also a restaurant before becoming one of the most beautiful Prague museums), but in recent years it has been carefully restored and now contains a permanent exhibition of photographs and memorabilia of the life and work of Antonin Dvorak (1841 to 1904) from the collection of the Dvorak Society.
The ceiling of the recital hall on the first floor of the museum is decorated with a fresco, Apollo, Pegasus and the Arts, by Johan Ferdinand Schor, whilst in the garden are sculptures of the Four Seasons from the workshop of Anton Braun.
- Opening hours:
- Tuesday to Sunday – 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Vila Amerika
- Ke Karlovu 20
- 120 00
- Prague 2
- The Dvorak Museum webpage is www.nm.cz/mad
Prague Museums – The Jewish Museum
Check the new Jewish Museum Post for ticket options. Containing over 40,000 exhibits and 100,000 books, the Jewish Museum has one of the most extensive collections of Judaic art and culture in the world. It is unique not only in terms of the number of its exhibits, but because they are from a single territory (Bohemia and Moravia), presenting an integrated picture of Jewish life and history in the region.
The exhibitions of the museum are in six historic locations; the Maisel Synagogue, Spanish Synagogue, Pinkas Synagogue, the Old Jewish Cemetery, Klausen Synagogue and the Ceremonial Hall (plus the Robert Guttman gallery).
The Maisel Synagogue exhibition covers the history from the establishment of the first Jewish settlements to the period of emancipation in 1780, when reforms were prepared to improve the status of Jews. The exhibition in the Spanish Synagogue continues the history through to the present day. The Pinkas Synagogue is dedicated to the Bohemian and Moravian victims of the Holocaust, whose names are inscribed on the wall of the main nave of the synagogue and adjoining areas.
The Old Jewish Cemetery was established in the first half of the fifteenth century, with the oldest surviving tombstone marking the grave of the poet and scholar Avigdor Karo who died in 1439. The cemetery was in use until 1787 and contains more than 12,000 tombstones, although many more burials took place on the site in successive layers.
The Klausen Synagogue features a permanent exhibition of Jewish customs and traditions, highlighting the significance of the synagogue and of individual Jewish festivals. The museum gallery contains exhibits associated with Jewish family life and the customs connected with birth, circumcision, bar mitzvah, wedding, divorce and daily life.
The Ceremonial Hall of the Burial Society houses the concluding section of the Course of Life exhibition focusing on illness and death, illustrated by examples from the unique series of Prague Burial Society paintings from the 1880s. The main museum hall features descriptions and illustrations of assistance provided by the Society to the ill and the dying, ritual washing of the dead and the burial ceremony. The Jewish Museum also houses a number of illuminated manuscripts and a collection of silver alms boxes.
- Opening hours:
- Daily, except Saturdays and Jewish holidays –
- 9:00 am to 6:00 pm April to October, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm November to March (On Friday the Orthodox Synagogue closes 1 hour before dusk)
- U stare skoly 1
- 110 00 Prague 1
- The Jewish Museum website is www.jewishmuseum.cz
Alfons Mucha Museum
The world’s first Mucha Museum and one of several Prague museums dedicated to one person i.e. dedicated to the life and work of the world-acclaimed Czech artist Alfons Mucha (1860-1939), is housed in the Baroque Kaunicky Palace in the very heart of Prague.
The exhibition gives an extensive overview of the artistic work of Alfons Mucha (1860 – 1939). Special attention is paid to his time in Paris (1887-1904), internationally the most celebrated period of his work. A set of posters from this period is on show, including the most important made for Sarah Bernhardt. A set of his characteristic decorative panels and a number of examples from Documents Decoratifs (1902) give an idea of Mucha’s conception of Art Nouveau.
The museum houses never exhibited before, pages from his Parisian sketchbooks. Other decorative objects and three dimensional works including examples of decorated books can be found in the show cases. The work he created after his return to Czechoslovakia (1910-1939) forms a special group, consisting of posters, drawings and oil paintings. At the end of the exhibition we can see a suggestion of what Mucha’s studio in Paris must have looked like, with some of the original furniture, photos of his family and a set of photographs taken in the studio.
A half hour long documentary film about the life and work of the artist is also a part of the Mucha museum exhibition.
The Mucha museum webpage is www.mucha.cz
National Technical Museum
This is a kind of Science and Transport Museum rolled into one with other bits thrown in as well. Great for people who like big real-life steam engines and model kits. We’ve been a couple of times and although it does not have the most up to date facilities it’s well thought out and presented. Again it’s one of the more child-friendly Prague museums. Kind of place to go on a rainy afternoon with the kids. Closed Mondays. Entry 70kc for Adults, Children under 8 enter for free.
Kostelni 42 (Letna)
The Technical Museum webpage is www.ntm.cz
Museum of Decorative Arts
It’s a permanent collection of the design ideas of the last 4 centuries. Furniture, jewellery, posters, photos, glass etc. Much of the exhibit is from the 20th Century except for the Cubism exhibits which now have their own museum. Closed Monday. Entry around 50kc. Check the website English language page for details.
17 Listopadu 2 (the street is called 17 Listopadu).
The Museum of Decorative Arts webpage is www.upm.cz
Museum of the City of Prague
It’s a good attempt and if you like “pots and rocks” and historic stuff then this has a reasonable collection. One of the cheapest Prague museums and has a big religious section for the size of the museum. The big draw is Antonin Langweil’s scale model of Prague that shows the city buildings around 1874 (but it’s not well lit). We visited with children one day and were disappointed at the attitude of the staff “don’t touch this and don’t touch that” even the glass covers were off limits. I think only the Technical Museum has really made an effort to let kids interact with exhibits. Entry 100kc.
Na Porici 52
The City Museum webpage is www.muzeumprahy.cz
Museum of Communism
If you have visited the museum in Berlin then this will be small beer. I think it is the second most expensive single entry ticket in Prague. It struggles to recreate the feeling of the time with it’s material collection. Communism is a state of mind and a few posters and household items from East Germany don’t cut it I’m afraid. Entry 130kc
The Communist Museum webpage is www.muzeumkomunismu.cz
Illusion Art Museum
Located on the Old Town Square. Fun for parents and kids alike with it’s interactive offer. I’ve now written an Illusion Art Museum Review.
A scaled down version of the London Army Museum. Many collections of scale models in formation for recreations of battles. Collection of weapons, uniforms, medals and history. Not much English translation so one of the Prague museums where you have to have an interest in it.
U Pamatniku 2, Prague 3
The Army Museum webpage is www.militarymuseum.cz
This is one of the Prague museums that require a taxi ride to get to but, it’s worth it if you like airplanes. Good collection of more than 275 planes (10 in full working order) with original MIG’s and reconstructed early century planes. The National Technical Museum also has a good collection of scale models. Entry 30kc.
Mladoboleslavska, Prague 9
The Aviation museum webpage is the same as the Army Museum (www.militarymuseum.cz)